Why Healthy Snacks?
It’s 2:45 p.m., and students are rushing into your after school program. Lunch was served at 11:30 a.m., which is over three hours ago. These students are hungry!
Not only are they hungry, they need to eat. Children and adolescents need to eat throughout the day to focus on what they’re learning and to have the energy to be active.
We are the witnesses of how the food industry has changed over the years. As a nation, we have to take some responsibilities in providing our kids with positive examples, healthy habits, and normal life. Healthy snacks are one way of transforming their lives and paying attention to their health.
Why are Healthy Snacks Important?
Providing healthy snacks has benefits for your after school program and the youths it serves.
Benefits to your after school program:
- More youths joining the after school program—healthy snacks are part of an appealing environment.
- Regular attendance— youths keep coming back because they like being fed healthy snacks.
- Better behavior—well fed youths can concentrate and focus.
- Connection with the school day—healthy snacks after school reinforce nutrition education taught during the day.
- Financial sustainability—your program can get reimbursed for providing healthy snacks.
Benefits for the youths:
- Better performance on academic tasks (they can focus!)
- Development of healthy eating habits
- Improved health and well-being
- Decreased risk of future chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure
After school programs play an important role in the fight against childhood obesity, by providing physical activity, nutrition education, healthy role models, and yes, healthy snacks!
Tools and Resources
How Are Student Health Risks and Resilience Related to the Academic Progress of Schools? is a report that summarizes the connection between student health and academic performance. The effect of poor nutrition and sedentary lifestyles on test scores is included.